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Soc Sci Med. 2019 Sep;237:112475. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112475. Epub 2019 Aug 7.

Measuring, valuing and including forgone childhood education and leisure time costs in economic evaluation: Methods, challenges and the way forward.

Author information

1
Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK; Division of Health Sciences, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK. Electronic address: l.andronis@warwick.ac.uk.
2
Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.
3
Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK; Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Abstract

Economic evaluations carried out to inform the allocation of finite public funds ought to take into account all relevant costs and benefits. When such evaluations adopt a societal perspective, it is important that they include 'time-related' costs arising from productivity and leisure time losses due to receipt of care, ill health or both. For programmes that relate to children, similar costs arise from forgone time, though there is a distinct lack of insights into how such costs should be identified, measured and valued. We set out to explore how forgone time-including absence from formal education and childhood leisure time-can be estimated and incorporated into economic evaluations. To do so, we look at theories and approaches to time valuation proposed in different disciplines and we discuss their suitability for use in health economics research. We find that, while there is a sizeable literature on time valuation methods in education, labour and transportation economics, much of this is not directly applicable to economic evaluation of health care interventions for children. We identify gaps in existing methods and practice, we outline challenges in moving forwards and we provide a list of considerations aiming to assist researchers in deciding whether, and how, to include foregone time-related costs in economic evaluation.

KEYWORDS:

Children; Economic evaluation; Monetary value of time; Opportunity cost of leisure time; Returns to education; Time valuation

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